'MOE guy' Ong Ye Kung pens fond farewell to the ministry

PHOTO: Facebook/Ong Ye Kung

Ong Ye Kung is the MOE guy no more, following a post-election Cabinet reshuffle that saw him shifted from the Ministry of Education (MOE) to the Ministry of Transport (MOT).

The move left Ong with a heavy heart, as he'd long grown fond of the ministry since his appointment in 2015, he shared in a Facebook post on Saturday (July 25).

One of his many predecessors had told him the MOE was a special place that would make one feel strongly about education, even after they have left, he wrote. 

"I now know what he meant."

It is with a heavy heart that I am leaving MOE. When I was first posted to MOE in 2015, one of my many predecessors...

Posted by Ong Ye Kung on Saturday, July 25, 2020

Attached to his post was a photo of a letter from a Primary 3 student — one of the many he has received over the years from various students — along with a handwritten response to the child.

His next post showed him in his now empty office, surrounded by boxes of his belongings. 

Everyone has been busy packing up since the weekend! Photos of our offices.

Posted by Ong Ye Kung on Sunday, July 26, 2020

Taking his place is Lawrence Wong, the former Minister of National Development and co-chair of the multi-ministry task force formed to tackle the Covid-19 crisis.

As for Ong, he will be succeeding Khaw Boon Wan, who retired prior to this year's General Election, at MOT.

Ong, who also took over Khaw's group representation constituency in Sembawang, had once commented that he had big shoes to fill.

"It's like, I'm a size 8. I think he might be a size 12."

Ong was elected into Parliament in 2015 and subsequently appointed as the Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills). 

He was promoted to Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) in 2016 and helmed the ministry with Ng Chee Meng before becoming the sole Minister for Education in April 2018.

During his time in the MOE, he phased out streaming, reduced exam load and helmed the SkillsFuture initiative — a national movement to provide citizens with the opportunities to upskill themselves.

He is also part of the fourth-generation leadership team. 

rainercheung@asiaone.com